40/40 Challenge

On November 22, 2019, I officially turned 39 years of age. 39 is a rather inauspicious age. It's the last hurrah before you officially move to the very top of the hill and start your (hopefully) long and steady descent to oblivion. It's also, I think, a good time to take stock of what you've achieved and what you plan on doing with the (again, hopefully) second half of your life.


For the most part, I've been very happy with what I managed to do in my first 40 years. I've written books, gotten two degrees, built a career, found an amazing partner to ride out the storms of life with, and have had the pleasure of raising two incredible young men.


But, I suppose the dreaded Midlife Crisis comes for all of us eventually, and as I'm rounding the bases of the first half of my life I find myself feeling strongly animated by this moment. It's odd that we refer to it as a crisis, because what it feels more like to me is an incredible burst of energy to take control of the narrative of my life, cut out the things that don't work, and complete the work I started in my 30's.


I'm sure for a great many people, waking up one day 40 with kids and dog and a spouse might feel suddenly cloying and horrifying. I think most of us spend our 20's and 30's sleepwalking forward, and then we suddenly wake up and wonder, like David Byrne in the always amazing "Once in a Lifetime..."


How did I get here?


I see how that could be scary. But I don't think I am scared. In fact, maybe for the first time in my life I'm not scared. More than ever before I know who I am, what I want out of life, who I want to spend it with, and I have the wisdom and experience necessary to make it all reality. In short, right now feels like the greatest opportunity I've ever been given to make an impact in my life, the lives of those around me, and help shape the future of my community. And as Albert Einstein once said, "Those who have the privilege to know, have the duty to act." I see a very clear path in front of me, and I now feel obligated to act.


So, because I'm a lover of stories and narrative, I'm not content to just vision board and write my goals down in a journal, I have to make it into a thing. Of course I do. Which is why today is the first day of what I'm calling the 40/40 Challenge. The rules are super simple:


  1. Pick a few big things I wanna change about myself/my life in this, my 40th year of life;

  2. Do a little bit each day for 40 weeks;

  3. Share my results so I have the small pressure of an audience;

  4. Do happy dances a lot.


It's that basic. The idea is that if I make small changes everyday, at the end of 40 weeks (or approximately on my 40th birthday) I will have significantly altered my habits and achieved a great many of the things on my youthful bucket list.


Here are my 40/40 Challenge goals:


  1. Lose 75 lbs

  2. Publish 2 novels and 1 photography book

  3. Grow my online audience to 10k (across Twitter, Instagram, and my newsletter)

  4. Post a blog everyday

  5. Help my local parks group break fundraising goals


If you want to follow along with my journey (or better yet, join in yourself), follow me on Twitter, Instagram, sign up for my newsletter, or just follow along with the hashtag #4040Challenge.


Here's to a transformative 2020, everyone!